Everready (The Religion)

Artist: Tech N9neTitle: Everready (The Religion)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

With a style derived from Bay Area and Southern Hip-Hop, it's geographically convenient that Tech N9ne hails from Kansas City. With a rapid-fire flow, an overpowering personality, and common man subject matter, Tech has spent the last decade touring endlessly, and releasing albums cherished by middle America more than New York and L.A. have ever given the rapper credit for. With his first studio album in four years, Everready: The Religion (Strange Music), Tech shows that he's charged up, and not sputtering off anytime soon.

The lead single, "'Bout to Bubble" is a retro-minded song that forecasts the fame Tech sees himself inheriting. Though it's slowed by a corny chorus, the WC-like delivery over the drum machines has crossover potential. "Caribou Lou" speaks closer to Tech's southern audience, with a slower, humming bassline, the rapper cites the alcoholic ingredients mandatory to party with him. "The Rain" reveals the family sacrifices Tech has made to sustain his rigorous touring. When he's not discussing sex and partying, the rapper's honesty is tangible to almost any listener.

Just as E-40, a guest on the album, did with his comeback album, Tech consulted Rick Rock for production on "No Can Do". Like so many of Rock's productions since, the piece almost appears to be yet another remix of Jay-Z's "Change the Game". "Flash" and "F**k 'em Gir" both use R&B production, giving Tech a chance to slow his delivery and show how his vocal tone alone can hold the listener's attention. However, in whole, the music on Everready is disjointed and inconsistent. Rather than establishing a sound of his own, the Tech's album consists of a la carte beats made to appeal to old school, South, West, and Rock audiences.

Like the gun of a similar name, Tech N9ne spits fast, but jams easily. Everready is no exception. A handful of records standout, but the simplistic sex and party drawl slows the organic appeal that so many fans found in Anghellic and Absolute Power. But as those efforts were tailor made to Tech's existing fans, this album riskily steps out of bounds for some mass appeal.